Just about a mile from the Colorado, New Mexico State border lies the little town of Costilla. To the north and northwest are two Colorado communities, Garcia and Jaroso. Another 6 miles headed east is the small mountain community of Amalia. Surrounding communities are the ‘suburbs’ of Poleo, El Llano, Zacate Blanco and Ventero.
In less than two weeks on Saturday-Sunday, July 6-7, these communities’ past and present residents will gather in Costilla, New Mexico at the Plaza de Arriba. Residents who have kept their hometowns in their hearts, who still live there, who now live in the city, but visit often, who haven’t been home since they left following their high school graduation, will gather in celebration of the 2019 Costilla-Amalia Reunion.
For this writer, growing up in Costilla was a beautiful experience. Our parents worked the land, and, we, the children felt safe and free. We experienced no prejudice, we were fed organic food before it was the buzzword. Vegetables and fruit were aplenty and ripe for picking from our own trees. Animals raised and fed for slaughter lacked hormones and fresh eggs were gathered and eaten at breakfast. Like a cliché, children were raised by a village. You were disciplined at home and at school, and no one was the wiser that it should be any different. We were taught from a long list of the best teachers in the world, who also taught us manners and compassion.
Many descendants of Costilla, Amailia and neighboring communities will unite if only for a short weekend to see family, rekindle friendships and revisit that piece of our heart we call home.
A few years ago a Facebook page, titled Families of Costilla and Amalia was implemented by Sandie Wesolowski and Julie Segura, who both have family ties in these northern New Mexico communities. As the Facebook page’s membership and popularity grew, it was obvious that these descendants had the desire to come home, at least one more time and remembered their childhood and upbringing.
Blessed to be born and raised in Costilla, I decided to test the membership’s interest on that Facebook page and from there the idea of a reunion grew. A committee was formed and worked hard to plan an event they would not soon forget. After various meetings, multiple posts, and many, many generous donations, the 2019 Costilla-Amalia Reunion has come together in memory of our many courageous and hardworking, ancestors who contributed to who we are today.
On Saturday, July 6th, please join us for a bit of nostalgia as present and past residents of Costilla, Amalia and neighboring communities visit a piece of their heart.
Scheduled at 9:00 a.m on Saturday is a parade where family name banners will proudly be showcased, along with Grand Marshall status that includes war hero, Bataan Death March Survivor, Valdemar DeHerrera and other special veterans. Many local parade entries will grace our parade, followed by a ceremony to include the history of Costilla-Amalia presented by Dr. Estevan Rael-Galvez. Also featured will be cultural traditions about the country’s oldest Hispanic organization, the SPMDTU (Sociedad Proteccion Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos), the RCCLA (Rio Costilla Co-op Livestock Association), los Penitentes of northern New Mexico and more. Also highlighted will be verses of La Entrega from a wedding, and verses known as part of Los Dias that celebrate the New Year.
Northern New Mexico’s musicians and their music will be highlighted and honored by New Mexico’s own, Roberto Griego with special guests.
The legendary Georgianna West, (now deceased) whose dedication to the well being of mothers and their babies will be recognized and an award presented to grandson, David West. Ms. West delivered over 1,000 babies in the northern New Mexico, southern Colorado area for many decades.
Also recognized is the descendant, Kenneth Gardner, of Ferdinand Meyer, general store/hardware store owner who employed many of the communities’ residents and provided necessary goods to the community.
This once in a lifetime event honors our ancestors, our grandparents, our parents who made us who we are. A group of people with a great work ethic, strong family ties, integrity and loyalty.
Following our Reunion festivities, Costila’s favorite son, Chris Arellano and the Chris Arellano Festival will entertain the reunion and festival attendees. Admission to the festival is $10. Join us and hear the unique sound of Chris Arellano and other New Mexico bands.
Come home again, to visit that piece of our heart, we call our home, Costilla, Amalia, Garcia and Jaroso, and surrounding communities.